The Phoenicians – Seafaring Writers

Monday Features


Today we’re stepping back in time to visit the Phoenicians. Throughout my historical studies, I’ve found them to be fascinating for a variety of reasons. They were a Semitic people, most likely Canaanites, that existed from around 1200 BC until 539 BC when Cyrus II (Cyrus the Great) of Persia conquered them. 
Ivory Winged Sphinx found in Iraq, made by Phoenician craftsman
Housed in the British Museum

Here are a few reasons I find them interesting.
1)They were a seafaring people and used galley ships. They lived in present day Lebanon and were known for the cedar timbers that they built their ships with.
2) Their name comes from a purple dye that they were known for and that they built a trading system on.
3) Their alphabet-Because the Phoenicians were seafaring merchants, they spread their alphabet to other peoples throughout the Mediterranean. Along the way, the Greeks added vowels, then the language was passed to the Etruscans and then the Romans. Today, it exists (in its advanced form) as our phonetic alphabet.

Here’s to the Phoneticians- some of the original “writers by the sea” who also happened to have a great shade of purple!

You can visit some of the Phoenician artifacts from the British Museum here.

My best to you all,

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